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The Mark of the “Letter J” and the Psychic Street Scam

I have a rather darling friend who prefers to remain nameless for the endurance of this story.  I reluctantly agreed to protect the identity of the innocent.

The other day, my lovely friend was walking in the Woodside, Queens area of New York City when a small woman approached and told my friend she was seeing “The Letter J” swirling around her.  Startled, and a little unsettled, my good friend — FOR SOME REASON! — confirmed to the tiny stranger that her name did, in fact, begin with “J” and the street scam was on!

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Vienna: The Continuing Saga of the Lost Card

We made our way back to the hotel intending to have dinner at a little restaurant we had spotted at the bottom of the road before turning in for the night. Our trip on the underground took us to THAT STATION — the one where my card got eaten and we thought we could go to the security offices and check for an update.

In the end, we did not need to make that detour — as we met our friendly helpful security guard who gleefully informed us that our card had been found  — and would be posted to our home address in Portugal.   SIGH ( Sigh here means much muttered swearing under breath and sheer desperation).   We double checked it had gone to our Portuguese address and not to the hotel — but, no, he said it had definitely gone to our Portuguese address.  We said thank you as gracefully as we could under the circumstances and rapidly changed our dinner plans for the evening.

We decided to dine in. I always travel with crackers of some kind in case I need something to eat quickly.  We had a bottle of duty-free champagne saved for our night in Venice as well.  We stopped off at the supermarket in the station and bought some pate, cheese and some fruit and bottled water and headed back to the hotel for the night.

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The Rickshaw Small Zero Messenger Bag Review

Based on my history, I think you could say that I have pretty awful luck when it comes to messenger bags. One of my first messenger bags came free of charge with a subscription to a now defunct magazine called Cargo that was meant to be the men’s version of Lucky magazine, a shopping magazine. I honestly got the subscription because it was ten dollars and came with the bag.

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The Millionaire Lesson Plan Saleswoman

The life of a teacher is a difficult one. Many people think that they have it easy — school ends at three, they have the whole summer off, and who can beat that for a job? What the people who think this way do not take into consideration is that the teacher, leaving the school at three, then has a stack of homework to grade and tests to score and lessons to plan. The lessons that a teacher plans for their classes every week has to not only cover the material that the school requires but ideally engages the children in the classroom and keeps their attention.

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The Mystery of the Missing American Express Card

I recently got a prepaid card from American Express — part of the Serve line, that allows you to send and receive money from friends on Facebook. I got it primarily because it promised in game rewards for a game I particularly like on Facebook. I wanted to see how well it worked and so I put a little money on it and went to Starbucks to get my wife Elizabeth a surprise drink.

The following day, I was surprised to receive a call from American Express Serve Customer Service. They told me that they had been notified that I had left my card at that Starbucks and when I looked in my wallet, it was of course not there. I’m not sure why I thought it might be there. I was extremely grateful that they reached out to me and I also thought it was fantastic that someone at the Starbucks store had called American Express to let them know that the card was there.

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The Return of Debtors Prison

In the time of author Charles Dickens, there was a scary institution known as a debtor’s prison in which a person, if they were unable or unwilling to pay off a debt they owed, would be put into prison as a way of making up the debt. In the United States they were outlawed in the 19th century as they did not seem to help anyone and certainly did not bring the person out of debt but it seems even in 2012 the debtor’s prison is alive and well.

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Could You Come Up with a Thousand Dollars in Cash Today?

I was talking to a financial planner friend of mine the other day, and one of the standardized questions he asks clients and potential clients is if they had to, could they come up with a thousand dollars in one day for an emergency?

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